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Skyline Trail

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

28.7 mile 46.3 kilometer point to point
87% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 4,355' 1,328 m
Descent: -6,075' -1,852 m
High: 8,229' 2,508 m
Low: 3,841' 1,171 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 55% (29°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by Joan Pendleton

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Minor Issues 55 days ago See History

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Mostly above treeline in sub-alpine meadows, alpine meadows, and on barren passes and ridges, awesome mountain views.

Joan Pendleton

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Historical Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

The Maligne Valley Hiker's Shuttle is available to facilitate hiking this trail from one end to the other end.

Camping along this trail is limited to the established trail camps. Permits and reservations are needed for the trail camps. They can be gotten online at the Parks Canada permit/reservation website: https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/

Please review the Parks Canada website and follow Leave No Trace principles.

Description

Maligne Lake Trailhead to Little Shovel Trail Camp (Mile 0-4.7)
Starting from its southern trailhead at Maligne Lake, Skyline Trail begins climbing gradually through the fir forest. A couple small lakes can be seen through the trees as they are passed. Evelyn Creek and Evelyn Creek trail camp are passed at the 3-mile mark. Continuing in the forest, Little Shovel trail camp is soon reached.

Little Shovel Trail Camp to Little Shovel Pass (Mile 4.7-6.5)
Leaving Little Shovel trail camp behind, the trees thin. The trail now runs through sub-alpine meadows dotted with firs, as it climbs to Little Shovel Pass. The mountain views in all directions are amazing from the pass.

Little Shovel Pass to Big Shovel Pass (Mile 6.5-11.1)
From Little Shovel Pass, the trail makes a short, steep descent to a creek and then follows it to Snowbowl trail camp at the 7.5 mile mark. After the trail camp, the trail continues through meadows dotted with firs, and expansive views in all directions. A creek is soon heard in the valley to the right/northeast, as the trail then climbs to barren Big Shovel Pass.

Big Shovel Pass to The Notch (Mile 11.1-14.2)
On barren scree now, with awesome views, the trail is flat to the Curator trail junction, and then as it passes Curator Lake. After Curator Lake is the steep, rocky climb to The Notch with its 360-degree mountain views far into the distance.

The Notch to Tekarra Trail Camp (Mile 14.2-19.8)
After The Notch, the views continue on a scree covered ridge walk for the next 3 miles. The trail then goes right to switchback down into alpine meadows and cross a creek at the 18-mile mark. Now in sub-alpine meadows with stands of firs, and great views of Mt. Tekarra, the trail follows the creek into Tekarra trail camp.

Tekarra Trail Camp to Signal Trail Camp Junction (Mile 19.8-23.6)
Just after leaving the trail camp, the creek is crossed again. The trail is then flat as it runs in meadows on Mt. Tekarra's and Signal Mountain's northeast slopes. Mountain and river valley views forever, to the northeast, are amazing throughout this traverse, as the 2 mountains rise above the trail to the left/southwest. Wildflowers also abound in these meadows.

Signal Trail Camp Junction to Signal Trailhead(Mile 23.6-29)
Here the trail becomes a fire road as it descends continually and gradually through the fir forest.

This is a segment of the GDT (Great Divide Trail).

Flora & Fauna

Fir forest, sub-alpine meadows dotted with small firs, treeless alpine meadows, and barren rocks and scree, depending on elevation. Lots of hoary marmots in the alpine meadows. Shy, unseen locals can include bears and woodland caribou.

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  5.0 from 1 vote

#4766

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Trail Rankings

#28

in Alberta

#4,766

Overall
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16 Since Sep 22, 2019
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Big Shovel Pass (south side) in the distance (center) is where Skyline Trail is headed, as it meanders through subalpine meadows. Curator Mountain (center left) marks the west (left) side of Big Shovel Pass.
Sep 23, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
A sunlit creek valley (left) is where Curator trail camp is found. Curator Lake (center right) in the distance is where Skyline Trail is headed as it heads north on the barren, alpine north side of Big Shovel Pass.
Sep 23, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Mount Tekarra (left) and the Colin Range in the distance (right), looking north from Skyline Trail.
Sep 23, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Almost at Big Shovel Pass, Curator Mountain's summit pokes up on the left (west), when approaching the pass from the south.
Sep 23, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Nearby meadows and distant Queen Elizabeth Range mountains on the far side of Maligne Lake, looking southeast from Little Shovel Pass. From the high peak in the center, going right - Samson Peak, Maligne Mountain, Mt. Paul, Monkhead, and Mt. Warren.
Sep 29, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Little Shovel Pass (center left), approaching it from the south on Skyline Trail.
Sep 23, 2019 near Jasper…, AB

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